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MAVERICKS CONTEST KICKOFF: Opening Ceremonies Set the Stage

| posted on July 22, 2010

It’s official. The 2007/2008 Mavericks Surf Contest waiting period has begun. On Friday, December 7 more than two dozen of the best big-wave surfers from around the world, along with their families, friends and media, assembled on the beach at Pillar Point to celebrate the opening of the new Contest season. The only big-wave paddle-in contest on the mainland, Mavericks has a waiting period from December 7, 2007 to March 31, 2008. During this window, the 24 invited surfers will be waiting for the “perfect storm” to produce waves 30-40 feet high and for Contest Director Jeff Clark to give the green light for the event.

The opening ceremonies began in true Mavericks tradition with the annual photo shoot of the invitees and alternates lining the beach with their surfboards behind them. Clark gave a short address acknowledging the skill, commitment and courage that each of the watermen standing in front of him possess. A moment of silence was then held in honor of local big-wave surfer Peter Davi, who lost his life to the sea on Tuesday.

“I am excited to see what Mother Nature throws us this year,” Clark remarked. “The energy and the spirit of this event is stepping into a new term and I know we are going to have an amazing season.”

He then introduced each of the surfers to the crowd one-by-one, highlighting their contribution to the Contest and to the sport of big-wave surfing. This year’s Contest includes invitees from Australia, Brazil, Hawaii, South Africa and the United States.

The ceremonies continued into the evening with a reception at the Harbor House Convention Center where the surfers and their friends and families gathered for food, fun and the highly anticipated heat drawings. The evening felt like a family reunion as guests brought their children, talked about their surfing plans for the future and shared their individual experiences with the massive surf that swept through California on Tuesday. Guests were treated throughout the night to the rockabilly sounds of The Dave Crimmen Band.

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Due to the rough weather conditions earlier in the day, the surfers cancelled the ceremonious paddle-out and chose to host a private impromptu prayer circle on the beach at sundown. It was then that Clark personally thanked the surfers for being a part of this year’s event, reflected on the bond they all share with each other, their respect for Mother Nature, and prayed for a successful and safe event. Contest invitee Grant Washburn probably summed up everyone’s thoughts on the impending season best by saying, “Surf big and surf safe.”

The Field is Set
Unlike other big-wave contests, invitees draw numbers to determine who they will compete against in the six-man, first round heats. The invitees themselves choose this method of seeding because they believe it mirrors Mavericks itself in that ‘you never know what you’re going to get.’ Below are the official random heat draws presented in the order they were chosen by the surfers themselves for the 2007/2008 Contest:

Heat One: Ion Banner, Shawn Rhodes, Russell Smith, Brock Little, Greg Long, Jamie Sterling
Heat Two: Danilo Couto, John Whittle, Matt Ambrose, Kenny “Skindog” Collins, Grant Washburn, Josh Loya
Heat Three: Ryan Seelbach, Randy Cone, Ross Clarke-Jones, Garrett McNamara, Evan Slater, Shane Desmond
Heat Four: Anthony Tashnick, Darryl “Flea” Virostko, Zach Wormhoudt, Tyler Smith, Grant “Twiggy” Baker, Peter Mel

Prize Purse
The Contest prize purse is worth a total of $75,000, including $30,000 for first place, $12,000 for second place, $7,500 for third place, $3,500 for fourth place, $2,500 for fifth place, $1,500 for sixth place and $1,000 for seventh through 24th place.

Where to Watch
Ensuring that Mavericks fans worldwide can get a glimpse of the action, the Contest will be webcast live over the Internet. The “It’s On!” SMS campaign allows fans to sign up to receive a cell phone text alert as soon as the Contest green light is given. And the day’s activities will also be available via a unique live webcast viewing event at AT&T Park, baseball’s “perfect address” and the home of the San Francisco Giants. As always, surfers and fans alike can track the waves, stay informed of Contest announcements, and buy tickets for the Mavericks Boat Tour and the AT&T Park Viewing Event at the official Mavericks website, www.maverickssurf.com.

About The Mavericks Surf Contest
Every winter season, Mother Nature offers up supremely harsh conditions and the giant, unpredictable waves that characterize Mavericks and the annual Mavericks Surf Contest. Start with the frigid waters, dangerous currents, jagged rocks and the ever-present threat of the great white shark, add in perfect weather conditions, and then legendary big-wave pioneer and Contest Director Jeff Clark will make the call to 24 of the world’s best big-wave surfers. At that point, they will have only 24 hours to arrive in Half Moon Bay to face the extreme conditions, thunderous waves and each other. Coined as “the wave beyond,” the Mavericks™ brand inspires hardcore athletes to face the unpredictably raw power of Mother Nature, and stirs the souls of those who aspire to challenge their own limits. Mavericks remains true to its core: a cold, mysterious and foreboding place that demands respect from everyone while inspiring them to attempt the extraordinary. For more information, including photos, surf conditions and Contest highlights, visit the official Mavericks website at www.maverickssurf.com.